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About the American Diversity Report

BIPOC, COVID-19, and Disparities in Health Care

Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)

They are traditionally marginalized across all social systems,  but it’s more apparent today than ever due to the devastating effects of COVID-19 on BIPOC communities.  In 2020, BIPOC account for 27.3% of the U.S. population (, 2020), yet BIPOC account for 58.1% percent of all COVID-19 cases to-date (, 2020).  Researchers and social scientists point to structural disparities as the main cause of the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rate among BIPOC (Cantos & Rebolledo, 2020; Valenzuela et al., 2020).  The data shows that a consequential proportion of the BIPOC communities are essential or service-related workers with limited or no access to health care, lower socioeconomic and education status, overcrowded housing with limited ability to social distance, and limited or no access to personal protective equipment.  These realities have created conditions where COVID-19 affects every aspect of the BIPOC social constructs.    

Continue reading BIPOC, COVID-19, and Disparities in Health Care

Health Disparities and the Culture of Lack – by William Hicks

Health disparities, i.e., differences in outcomes from disease experiences, are well-described and documented. The statistics that tell us of the incidence and prevalence of diseases within our populations (epidemiology) are readily available. In large measure, the prevalence (the number of cases within a population at any given time of measurement) of heart disease/high blood pressure, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases (influenza, pneumonia) are all among the top ten causes of death for all population subgroups (source:

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Diversity and Speech Part 14: Health Equity – by Carlos Cortés, Adwoa Osei

Completing her second year as a pediatrics professor at the University of California, Riverside, Adwoa was focused on providing clinical training for her medical students.  A retired UCR history professor, Carlos had no way of imagining that he would soon be joining the staff of a medical school.  .

Then the UCR School of Medicine decided to establish a new required curricular thread on Health Equity, Social Justice, and Anti-Racism.  Shortly after that, the School asked Adwoa and Carlos to become co-directors of the thread in order to get it started.

It was decision time for the two of us.  Still at an early stage of her medical teaching career, Adwoa had numerous obligations.  Experienced in health care cultural competence training, Carlos had been giving annual workshops on that topic to UCR’s incoming medical students.  But establishing an entire curricular thread?  That was a challenge.  But also an opportunity.  We couldn’t turn it down.   Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 14: Health Equity – by Carlos Cortés, Adwoa Osei

QAnon, COVID-19 and conspiracy addiction – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press – August 2020

Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

QAnon has gone mainstream. This fringe group’s theory that there’s a deep state dedicated to child trafficking, cannibalism, and anti-Trumpism is no longer under the radar. Some point to the successful Georgia primary of QAnon backer, Marjorie Greene, as proof. Others point to President Trump congratulating her and calling her a “Future Republican Star”.  While Vice President Pence tried to counteract Trump’s enthusiasm for QAnon, the fact that QAnon ended up on the front page of The Chattanooga Times Free Press tends to support the mainstream theory.

Continue reading QAnon, COVID-19 and conspiracy addiction – by Deborah Levine

Neurodiversity: An Organizational Asset – by Maureen Dunne, Cathy Schwallie Farmer


We make the case here that neurodivergent thinkers should be an important part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies because every organization stands to benefit from the inclusion of different cognitive perspectives in creating the organization’s culture.

This argument can be made from several different angles. For example, it can be made from the standpoint of a single organization, competing with other organizations in a commercial or industrial pursuit. It can also be made from the standpoint of the larger society, which stands to benefit from more innovative and equitable organizations.

Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in a world that values individuals for the skills and talents each of us uniquely possesses? Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in a world where seeming misfit pieces of the puzzle find a suitable home in the tapestry of the larger machine that is a 21st century economy?

Continue reading Neurodiversity: An Organizational Asset – by Maureen Dunne, Cathy Schwallie Farmer

The Surrender of the Medical Superhero – by Vishnu Unnithan

It was the first day of the new academic term and our batch was bubbling with excitement. Our surgery posting had finally dawned. Now was our chance to step into the operation theatre and watch first hand as surgeons washed up and dutifully, saved lives. When most medical students envision medicine as a career, prior to entering medical school, they more often than not dream about wearing scrubs and operating to the rhythmic beats of all the life support and monitoring machines. Without doubt, the first visit to the operation theatre is one of the most cherished memories of any medical student.

We were assigned to our units and were very warmly received by our senior consultants. Cases were allotted for observation and by rotation, we were even allowed to wash up and assist in the procedures. It was a thrilling experience as we got to take incisions and operate laparoscopic instruments under expert supervision and this led to the birth of an unextinguishable spark that caused many of my colleagues to decide upon surgery as a future career choice.

Continue reading The Surrender of the Medical Superhero – by Vishnu Unnithan

Healthy Golden Years – by Milica Kostic

Staying Healthy in Your Golden Years During COVID-19

Retirement is a part of our lives where we look forward to relaxing and enjoying the abundance of extra time.  We have a chance to explore the world, pursue hobbies, and spend time with our grandchildren.

But let’s not forget that the key aspect of having a vibrant and productive retirement means you have to keep your body and mind healthy.

Today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping a high focus on our health is more important than ever. As our older loved ones follow all the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe and healthy, they can also include some additional activities in their routines to help keep their minds sharp and bodies fit.

Continue reading Healthy Golden Years – by Milica Kostic

Women, Votes and the $20 Bill – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of men granting women the right to vote, we should remember that it took two or three generations from the first women’s rights conference in 1848 until that right was granted. Women protested, picketed, and were imprisoned around the US. The disdain for these protesters was strong and anti-Suffragist protests were loud even in Nashville. Sound familiar? Not surprisingly, when the 19th amendment passed in Tennessee, it did so just barely, and was then contested. Fortunately, attempts to rescind passage were not successful and Tennessee became the deciding vote in passing women’s voting rights nationally.

So given our activist history, why are only 19.6% of elected officials in Congress women. And why, in the 2016 presidential election, did only one-third of women eligible to vote cast a ballot?  There’s never been a woman president or vice president or chief justice of the Supreme Court. And in Tennessee, which was so instrumental in passing the voting rights legislation, there’s never been a woman governor.

What is the problem? Why aren’t women more prominent in leadership? Are we ignorant of history and therefore taking it for granted? Then read this newspapers’ columns by Linda Moss Mines about the amazing stories behind passing Constitutional Amendment 19 and achieving women’s right to vote. Consider that this Centennial isn’t just a once in a lifetime commemoration, it’s happens only once in several generations.

But I worry that women and their supporters are just too depressed to care about voting given all the economic and social issues confronting us. Can we get over thatWhy Bother” attitude? Consider that 76% of public school teachers are women. And 80% of bank tellers, 83% of social workers, 91% of nurses, and 70% of wait staff are women. Yet only thirty-three of the Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs. And of the handful of African American CEOs, none are women. It’s way past time that women are seen, heard, and elevated to leadership.

Still not inspired to vote? Dig into the stories of women who are historic icons. A great example is Harriet Tubman who was born into slavery, escaped and then rescued 70 enslaved people using the network we know as the Underground Railroad. Truly a Woman of Valor! Tubman was to be on the $20 dollar bill this year to commemorate the  passage of the 19th Amendment.

So why was the new $20 bill postponed? Treasury Secretary Mnuchin claimed the design delay was over counterfeiting issues while announcing that plans for new $10 and $50 bills would go forward.Yet The New York Times reported that the Tubman $20 bill had already been designed.

We know what really happened. President Trump nixed putting Tubman on the currency saying it was pure political correctness”. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen angrily responded saying “…this delay sends an unmistakable message to women and girls, and communities of color.”

Can Shaheen get legislation passed to produce the Tubman $20 bills in 2021, or will it take another 100 years? My hope is that we see a positive cultural shift with Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his Vice President. But I’m prepared for the “extraordinarily nasty” tidal wave of name calling already begun by Trump who claimed that men may feel insulted by a woman VP choice.

Despite the inevitable divisiveness, I’m hopeful for a huge turnout of voters who support women in leadership. I’m hoping for an historic Centennial and that someday soon, I’ll have a $20 bill that’s more valuable than anything I’ve ever had in my wallet.

Equity, Social Justice and Education – by Godson Chukwuma, Joseph Nwoye, Katina Webster

As the debate rages on the extent of equity and social justice for all, two perspectives are emerging. On the one hand, the traditional school of thought represents people who believe that things are going well and that the system operates well based on their conception of equity and social justice for all. These traditionalists assert that our system is fair and that it works as it is supposed to do. They further claim that the system’s operation aligns with the founding fathers’ statements in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Continue reading Equity, Social Justice and Education – by Godson Chukwuma, Joseph Nwoye, Katina Webster

Reaching the Underserved in Gifted Education – by Holly Paul, Stacey Burt

A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

The National Association for Gifted Children (2020a) defines gifted children as those “who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude…or competence…in one or more domains.” Gifted programs exist to provide enrichment to the core curriculum and support these children in reaching their potential. Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minority students are regularly underrepresented in these programs, with the largest disparity being black students. It is both immoral and illegal not to educate a child on the low end of the special education spectrum. Why, then, do we not have the same moral imperative to help all intellectually gifted students reach their potential?

Continue reading Reaching the Underserved in Gifted Education – by Holly Paul, Stacey Burt